Chrome OS Build Instructions (Chromium OS on Linux)

Chromium on Chromium OS is built from a mix of code sourced from Chromium on Linux and Chromium on Windows. Much of the user interface code is shared with Chromium on Windows.

If you make changes to Chromium on Windows, they may affect Chromium on Chromium OS. Fortunately to test the effects of your changes you don't need to build all of Chromium OS, you can just build Chromium for Chromium OS directly on Linux.

First, follow the normal Linux build instructions as usual to get a Chromium checkout.

Building and running Chromium with Chromium OS UI on your local machine

If you plan to test the Chromium build on your dev machine and not a Chromium OS device, run the following in your chromium checkout:

$ gn gen out/Default --args='target_os="chromeos"'
$ ninja -C out/Default

NOTE: You may wish to replace ‘Default’ with something like ‘Cros’ if you switch back and forth between Linux and Chromium OS builds, or ‘Debug’ if you want to differentiate between Debug and Release builds (see below) or DebugCros or whatever you like.

Now, when you build, you will build with Chromium OS features turned on.

See GN Build Configuration for more information about configuring your build.

If you have not already done so, be sure to set the following to prevent ‘gclient runhooks’ from executing ‘gyp_chromium’:


Some additional options you may wish to set by passing in --args to gn gen or running gn args out/Default:

is_component_build = true
use_goma = true
is_debug = false  # Release build
dcheck_always_on = true  # Enable DCHECK (with is_debug = false)
is_official_build = true
is_chrome_branded = true


When you build Chromium OS Chromium, you‘ll be using the TOOLKIT_VIEWS front-end just like Windows, so the files you’ll probably want are in src/ui/views and src/chrome/browser/ui/views.

When target_os = “chromeos”, then toolkit_views need not (and should not) be specified.

The Chromium OS build requires a functioning GL so if you plan on testing it through Chromium Remote Desktop you might face drawing problems (e.g. Aura window not painting anything). Possible remedies:

  • --ui-enable-software-compositing --ui-disable-threaded-compositing
  • --use-gl=osmesa, but it‘s ultra slow, and you’ll have to build osmesa yourself.
  • ... or just don't use Remote Desktop. :)

To more closely match the UI used on devices, you can install fonts used by Chrome OS, such as Roboto, on your Linux distro.

To specify a logged in user:

  • For first run, add the following options to the command line: --user-data-dir=/tmp/chrome --login-manager
  • Go through the out-of-the-box UX and sign in as
  • For subsequent runs, add the following to the command line: --user-data-dir=/tmp/chrome
  • To run in guest mode instantly, you can run add the arguments --user-data-dir=/tmp/chrome --bwsi --incognito --login-user=‘$guest’ --login-profile=user

Signing in as a specific user is useful for debugging features like sync that require a logged in user.

Compile Chromium for a Chromium OS device using the Chromium OS SDK

See Building Chromium for a Chromium OS device for information about building and testing chromium for Chromium OS.